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School Board OK’s FHS soccer stadium plan
Group seeks sponsors, needs $50k now for lighting, $175k-$225k needed for grandstand

The race is on to have Farragut High School’s new soccer stadium operational before the girls’ 2008 season ends.

What’s needed within the next month is roughly $50,000 for lighting — four poles — for the stadium’s location next to Farragut Intermediate School.

Fund-raising efforts, focused primarily on seeking high-level grades of sponsorship for the eventual stadium cost of between $175,000 and $225,000, are just now full-bore after Knox County Board of Education unanimously approved the stadium’s concept plan earlier this month.

Ron Dresen, FHS Girls Soccer Boosters president, said the stadium would be built in “stages. ... As soon as we get $60,000, we’ll go back [to the School Board] and say, ‘O-K, here’s our wiring plan, we’re going to put the lights up.’”

Lighting installation would be key toward being able to play games late in the girls 2008 fall season at the FIS field.

Lights would make the field usable for evening games “like the first week in October, maybe have Parents Night here or Senior Night here,” Dresen said. “And play any [post-season] tournament games here.”

Dresen said that as of mid-August, project funds on hand amount to “operating funds we could pull some money out of,” adding the girls soccer boosters had “a few thousand dollars” available for stadium funds.

However, for the Board to approve any phase of construction/installation, they must see proof of funding in-hand for that given phase.

A joint effort between the FHS girls and boys soccer boosters, Dresen said on the boys’ side, “They haven’t indicated that they’ve got a bunch of money to pay for it, either.”

Moreover, “We haven’t done any specific fund-raising for this yet,” he added. “It’s gone a little slower here towards the end than I had hoped.”

Dresen said the chances of playing actual games with lighting at the FIS field in 2008 are “50-50.”

The booster head said a best case scenario, completing Phase One, would include lighting, aluminum stands with a 750 seating capacity and fencing along the hillside above the field — all up and ready for a game before the girls’ 2008 season ends. “We can probably get done in the $140,000, $150,000-range,” Dresen said.

The finished stadium also would feature permanent concession stand/bathrooms building next to the stands, scoreboard, fencing just outside of the playing area and a small pressbox.

Major fund-raising, according to Dresen, will take the form of major sponsorship solicitations, where the two largest sponsors would have their logos/advertisement featured most prominently at a new arched brick-designed entrance into the stadium.

“And four other, smaller sponsors” also with logos/advertisements displayed at the entrance,” Dresen added. “That’s our main plan.”

The list of potential donors Dresen and other boosters would contact is about 300, he said.

Other “typical” fund-raisers would include “selling bricks” for $100 to former Farragut soccer players “that are still in the community,” with their names and years they played as part of the arched entrance.

Or, “If you donate X-amount for the bleachers, we can put signs on there,” Dresen said. “Signs would be a permanent part of the field.”

Community fund-raisers feature a Sept. 20 event at the FIS field “with tents, we’re going to have an auction,” Dresen said.

Dave Stinton, FHS Boys Soccer Boosters president, said, “We’ve done this as a team. We’ve got a lot of people enthused about what’s going on.

”There’s a lot of the Farragut soccer players that are still in the area that are anxious to be involved,” Stinton added. “The committee’s already been talking to corporate sponsors.”

Michael Reynolds, FHS principal, expressed enthusiasm. “To have a place of your own is really neat,” he said. “With the middle school and intermediate school coming forward, too, and allowing us to use that land is pretty noteworthy.”

Kay Wellons, FIS principal whose school has basic jurisdiction over the field during school hours — primarily used as a playground — said she had “no objection” to the stadium.

Reynolds said FHS obtaining permission from those schools “has been a stumbling block in the past.

“We were appreciative of them letting us use it as a practice field for a number of years,” Reynolds added. “I think it only enhances the field when it becomes a game field.

“And it will have stands where they can host events, too.”


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